An exhaustive, meticulously detailed memoir of a passionate American that is sure to challenge and delight many readers.

Unexpected Odyssey: Danzig to Tennessee

The sweeping memoirs of a Danzig immigrant.

Luehning reflects fondly at a supremely brimful life beginning with his birth in 1940 in the northern town of Zoppot in the Free City of Danzig, mere months after the start of World War II. His father, a conductor and classical pianist–turned-soldier, disappeared during wartime, leaving Luehning’s mother to single-handedly raise him and his younger sister, Heike. They eventually relocated to Hoechst, near Frankfurt, Germany, and then immigrated via military troop ship to Brooklyn, New York, in 1947. The author’s prose shines best when regaling us with stories of his grade school days, family trips to Times Square and the family pizza shop. He also tells of various rollicking teenage adventures at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he later graduated as a distinguished maritime engineer. Those years were a crucial watershed in his life, encouraging him to “identify my ambition in cold logic and to work my ass off to succeed.” The remainder of the memoir is comprised of smoothly told anecdotes on a series of ships, a stiff reunion with his father, a marriage and divorce, a struggle with sobriety and a stint in graduate school. Luehning later became an executive chef and owned and operated several gourmet restaurants for nearly a decade. His journey concludes with his mother’s tragic death and his retirement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photographs of the author’s family and of the ships on which he sailed provide vibrant visual references along the way. Running parallel to his own memories are those of his mother, “Mutti,” penned in 1988. They independently form a dramatic, candid chronicle worthy of its own stand-alone memoir, supplementing the emotional depth of the family legacy while offering an added perspective on the era. Luehning, now 74, has clearly led an extraordinary life, and reading his memoir is like spending the weekend with a friendly, war-veteran anecdotalist. This tome not only entertains, but also reflects the fortitude and perseverance needed to survive life’s storm fronts.

An exhaustive, meticulously detailed memoir of a passionate American that is sure to challenge and delight many readers.

Pub Date: July 18, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: KVL Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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